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No Fluke
Big fish set pace for fall fishing season
Captain Dave Monti
Chris Catucci of Warwick with the five-pound freshwater bass he caught in New Hampshire last week.

“The first midsized giant bluefin of the season was caught last Saturday weighing 263 pounds,” said Elisa Jackman of Snug Harbor Marina in South Kingstown. The bluefin was caught at the Mud Hole by Frank Busher of Portsmouth, R.I. aboard the vessel Bushwhacker. It is hoped that this is the first fish of many for the season.

Jackman continued to say, “The record breaking 434-pound broadbill swordfish caught last Thursday by Captain Louis DeFusco of West Warwick, R.I. fought for three and half hours.” The swordfish was caught at the Hydrographer Canyon aboard his charter boat Hot Reels, which is out of Point Judith. It broke the Rhode Island record by 120 pounds, which was held by Web Goodwin of Warwick who caught a 314-pound swordfish in 1964.

Here is Captain Lois DeFusco’s account of the final minutes of the fight (visit www.hot-reels.com for the full account.) Captain DeFusco said, “…Christian readied the harpoon and basket and brought it over to Lou. The fish came up to the surface and made a move towards the stern, I cut the wheel hard into the direction of the fish’s spin, giving Lou a wide open shot with the harpoon. He took the harpoon in one hand with the rod still in the other and nailed the fish Spartan style while I simultaneously sunk a flying gaff near its tail; it was
officially lights out.”

NOAA using new methodology to analyze catch estimates

The Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) is evaluating new catch estimates calculated using an improved, peer-reviewed methodology developed in consultation with a team of NOAA and external experts.

In a press release last week, NOAA said the new estimation method - which will produce revised estimates of catch dating back to 2004 - will yield more accurate estimates by eliminating numerous sources of potential bias. NOAA related that potential bias will be eliminated in three ways. First, “By aligning the statistical formulas we use to calculate catch estimates with the way in which we have collected catch data in the field; second, by appropriately weighting data to account for sampler discretion in surveying alternate sites; and third, by dropping alternate mode data chosen at samplers' discretion, which cannot be properly weighted.”

NOAA scientists are carefully evaluating the new preliminary estimates to provide an in-depth analysis of the numbers and gain a better understanding of their implications.

ASMFC accepts Regional Tautog Plan submitted by RI and MA

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Tautog Management Board accepted a Massachusetts and Rhode Island plan that may mean we will not need to take a reduction in tautog for the 2012 season.

Most states will face a 53 percent reduction in fishing mortality rate. Rick Bellavance, president of the Rhode Island Party and Charter Boat Association (and an ASMFC legislative proxy) said, “The mandatory reporting conducted by the charter industry in Rhode Island last year helped to improve the accuracy of the data that was used in the plan. This data helped lead the Technical Committee to accept the MA/RI plan.”

Bluefish recipe

Brian Woodward, an avid Rhode Island angle and active Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association member, shared the following bluefish recipe. Brain said, “I take the fillets and trim off the dark meat. I coat them generously with Emeril’s Bayou Blast Seasoning (no brining). I smoke them for two hours, keeping watch not to dry them too much. They are awesome for breakfast with scrambled eggs, or with a glass of wine in the evening.”

Pawtuxet Falls dam removal begins

Removal of the Pawtuxet Falls dam is underway. The contractor, SumCo, is preparing the staging areas. The project received preliminary approval last week from RIDEM regarding water control plans. This will be the largest dam removal project in the state's history. The $600,000 project is a collaboration between state and federal agencies and non-profit organizations like the Pawtuxet River Authority and Watershed Council.

The dam removal is intended to give fish species, such as American shad and river herring, better access to their historical spawning areas. Demolishing the dam is also expected to reduce flood risks by lowering water levels in areas immediately upstream. The initiative is supported by RISAA.

How do you tell the difference between a male and female tautog?

A lot of discussion occurred this week on the RISAA blog about how to tell the difference between a male and female tautog. Steve Medeiros, president of RISAA said, “Males get darker as they get older, plus they get a more pronounced forehead and the area under the mouth to the gills becomes white. They are called 'white chinners.' Females don't have the pronounced forehead or the white chin. Their coloring isn't as dark, but that's not always the case since a lot of fish will have variable coloring often matching their surroundings.”

Where’s the bite?

Freshwater fishing has been slow. Chris Catucci of Warwick said, “I fished Waterman's Lake in Gloucester Saturday and only caught three bass, all of them in the 13- to 14-inch range on fluke type baits.”

Striped bass

Al Conti of Snug Harbor Marina reports a good striped bass bite around Block Island with good sized fish being taken at the north rip and the southeast and southwest sides of the Island. During the day, fish are taking diamond jigs on wire and at night eels are the bait of choice. Striped bass fishing in the Bay is actually improving. Mike Swain of Coventry said he and fishing partner Darrell Hatten were fluke fishing at Conimicut Point and caught a 33-inch striped bass while fluke fishing. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle of East Providence said, “Customers continue to catch bass using worms at Sabin Point, I’ll bet 30 to 40 fish were caught in the past three or four days.” Both Mike Swain and John Littlefield said schools of menhaden have appeared in the upper Bay this past week. This is a good sign for fall fishing.

Fluke fishing remains good off Newport, Point Judith and in the lower part of Narragansett Bay around the Newport Bridge. Steve Proctor, an associate at John’s Bait & Tackle in North Kingstown, said, “Customers are catching fluke in the Bay with an outstanding scup bite in the lower Bay too.” However, fluke fishing along the coastal shores from Watch Hill to Galilee is slow with “a lot of shorts being caught,” said Al Conti of Sung Harbor Marina. Shorts being caught by shore anglers too. Chris Catucci of Warwick said, “Fluke have been tough to catch at Fort Wetherill and the ones you catch are shorts.”

Scup bite is excellent at the bridges and in from shore at Colt State Park in Bristol, said John Littlefield.

Tuna fishing at Cox’s Ledge and beyond is still mixed… some days good… other days not so good.

Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shell fishing on Narragansett Bay for over 40 years. He holds a captain’s master license and a charter fishing license. Your fishing photos in JPEG form, stories, comments and questions are welcome...there’s more than one way to catch a fish. Visit Captain Dave’s No Fluke website at www.noflukefishing.com or e-mail him at dmontifish@verizon.net.

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